Brief summary of Episode 6 – What is Cannabis Web Design?:Cannabis web design and marketing is an ever-growing industry. As Cannabis becomes more mainstream, so does the need for quality websites and effective marketing campaigns. Steve and I discuss Content Management Systems, eCommerce, third party platforms, web presence, social media integration and more. 

[Episode 6 – What is Cannabis Web Design? transcript]

Steve: [00:00:00] I’m wondering how it’s gonna be in the future. Can you advertise cigarettes on social media? Can you advertise alcohol right now on social media?

Ed Higgins: No. No alcohols, no cigarettes, no guns.

Steve: If that’s the case it’s probably not really gonna change unless maybe, can you advertise for aspirin? Can you advertise for medicine? Maybe medical Cannabis? Maybe medical Cannabis? Maybe medical Cannabis?

Ed Higgins: Let’s go. Purple Noodle podcast, helping Cannabis businesses grow organically. This is episode six. What is Cannabis web design? Cannabis web design is an ever-growing industry. As Cannabis becomes more mainstream, so does the need for quality websites and effective marketing campaigns.

Steve and I discussed content management systems or CMS. E-commerce, third party platforms, web presence, social media integration, and more. How you doing, Steve?

Steve: Awesome. Everything is awesome. How are you dawg?

Ed Higgins: Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of the team, I’m doing amazing. I had a great [00:01:00] night and I’ve had a pretty cool Sunday.

Steve: Nice.

Ed Higgins: As far as content management systems, now, I know when you had your dispensary, they were around, but you weren’t utilizing them. Content management systems are exactly in the name. It’s a way to manage content to distribute to an audience.

Before we used to have to put together websites with html. and it would be your pages. You couldn’t really interact. And then content management systems started to come out like joomla, WordPress that really changed the game. That allowed you to create a website that could also distribute constant content without having to be a rocket scientist in order to get it done.

Some of the websites we use are, like I said, Joomla, Drupal. We’ve used WordPress. Those are all content management systems. They are also ones that you can install yourself in your own server, so you don’t, you’re not paying anybody to use them instead of a third party platform, which is like [00:02:00] Shopify, Wix, Square and all those.

Wix is pretty good with it. It allows you to get up and running pretty quickly. It doesn’t have all the functionality that you would have if you installed your own WordPress. And that’s why we go with WordPress for a lot of our informational systems.

And then we’ll embed something like dutchie. Dutchie.com is a Cannabis e-commerce system specifically for Cannabis. We embed that in on their page. So, basically, it’ll be a WordPress for the foundation, and then once you get to a link on one of the pages, you click on it and then you’re at dutchie. But you don’t know it because it’s embedded in the website.

Flowhub is a POS system that we utilize for connecting to dutchie. The product goes from metric, which is a system in Colorado that they use to track Cannabis, to track where it’s going, where it’s came from, selling it, all that good [00:03:00] stuff.

Weedmaps and Leafly: you’ve used weed maps before, right?

Steve: Yeah. We used to use weed maps back in the day, and Leafly is really popular too.

Ed Higgins: You can utilize both to get up and running quickly. You actually don’t need to get a website set up if you use Weedmaps. You need a basic one pager and then have weed maps embedded in your website, and you can utilize that for shopping as well.

Of course you’re sharing your content with Weedmaps, so they have all your customers, they have all your customer information, what they purchase and stuff, but it’s a quicker way to get ’em running as long as you have a licensing department in your state. Right now, Minnesota, in certain areas like Minneapolis, they have licensing, but only for medical.

Until they get licensing for recreational, we actually can’t have our dispensaries on weedmaps ,and that’s something that the states run into. If you want to own your own e-commerce for Cannabis, then you can utilize a site like WordPress [00:04:00] or Joomla. Joomla is a more database driven , eCommerce type website.

Tell me about this amazing website and this amazing person that you talked to. What’s that all about? el-hempe.com.

Steve: Yeah. I have a friend and she’s associated with this group el-hempe.com. It made me think about what you’ve been talking before about marketing and so I looked at their website and I just wanted to get your feedback on what you thought about their website.

Ed Higgins: At first notice, it’s beautiful. And what I mean by that is it just works. Which is what you want , you want your website to work, of course. You want it to be pretty to dazzle people. And then you also want to be able to educate people on what your brand is about. And once you get to this website immediately, you know what they’re offering.

It’s a tequila based, terpene infused, ready to drink sparkling cocktail. Yep. You know It’s based for cannabis users. The [00:05:00] design on the can is beautiful. It’s modern by the way, of the website. And when you scroll down, the can stays in the middle. Yeah. And it turns and it’s really a beautiful thing.

When you flash shiny things at people yes, they get excited. And that’s one of the things that I’m excited about for this website. It’s really a beautiful website. Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about it.

Steve: So I just met this friend of mine and she was like, you gotta check this new brand out. So from what I understand, it’s a sparkling tequila and they’re infused it with terpenes. There’s no thc, there’s no actual hemp products in it, but it’s terpene infused. And and if you scroll down the website, of course, the first thing on the right says it’s a tequila based terpene infused, ready to drink sparkling cocktail.

And then he face into the next one. And it shows like a smoker who’s got like a joint in his hand with one of the cans. From what I understand, when you pop it open, you can smell the terpenes that [00:06:00] on that little like taste you have in the beginning, that’s the flavor that you get.

It tastes like grass. That’s what they say. It tastes like grass.

It’s got that real CBD. That beautiful taste that I like a lot of people don’t. I like that taste.

And if you look at the cans one of them is lemon, lime, OG Kush. OG Kush is a favorite to everybody. Quick history lesson, the Kush comes from the Kush Mountains, which is near India, and OG stands for Ocean Grown.

We hear those terms a lot, but a lot of people don’t really associate it. Kush is a land race strain, and of course OG is a fine hybrid grown on the coast of California with that California ocean breeze.

That’s one of the flavors. Another flavor, if you turn the can the third one is like a Durban poison brand.

Ed Higgins: Yeah. It’s a hibiscus Durban poison. I was scrolling down while you were talking and the can changed. It’s a beautiful transition.

Steve: Nice. Durban poison is considered also a land race strain, and it’s [00:07:00] from Durban, South Africa. When I started looking into it, now I know it’s classified as a land race strain, but some reports that I get say that Like European settlers came there back in the early 17 hundreds and brought the seeds, maybe even 18 hundreds and brought the seeds and they planted large amounts of that.

Then over the course of the next 200 years or so, that’s what grew into what’s current today, Durban poison. I’ve never been to South Africa. I don’t know how widespread it is, but I believe, I don’t quote me on this, but I believe a lot of those land race strains, especially that one were wiped.

 US policy, when worldwide targeting cannabis, they would pay different countries millions of dollars to come in and eradicate all the land race strains. They would spray it, toxic poisons on the land, on the soil.

A lot of people caught cancer from it. Durbin Poison is one of these ones that got targeted in South Africa, but it’s still there, from what I understand. It’s now come back to the States. Everybody grows it, it’s a beautiful plant. A lot of things are mixed with it, but I, this would be a good taste, to see and [00:08:00] like the three that they have there.

I myself, I would pick the one in the middle, which is mix berry. It’s called a mix berry. And it has a lemonene terpene to it.

Ed Higgins: Yeah, mixed berry, OG Kush. I also want to say that the person who designed this, or the person who was in charge of making sure that it is designed in this way, has a great sense of humor.

And great design too, because the mixed berry, OG Kush, you got this guy, he is got contacts. He’s sitting there with his skateboard. Then you scroll down and you get to the hibiscus and one of the messages is for the faux fur wearing mechanical bull riding, real cowboy.

In e-commerce, we always have people always also bought sections. We always have that. If you bought this, you’re also gonna want this. At the bottom, they have people also bought, Brass knuckles. Eyedrops. . el-hempe hibiscus, [00:09:00] chips, which are really cheesy poofs with somebody with their finger covered in cheese.

 That’s the funny thing about this website is it really is interpretive and they’ve really gone outta their way to make it the perfect way you would promote a brand. This is exactly a brand website. You wanna go out and buy this now This is, if this is your flavor, this is your life, you love that sense of humor, you’re gonna get this drink.

Steve: We mentioned before, weed sells itself. Used to be something that people used to say, but I find that’s maybe flower. When it comes to drinks and that stuff, it really does take a kind of a good marketing schematic to get people’s attention, to make their mouth water and wanna try it.

In my book, this is a good example of what we were talking about before, like trying to catch people’s attention

Ed Higgins: I love it.

Steve: One last thing. I went to where to buy , this is Southern California. It’s San Bernardino Mountains, Cleveland National Forest, and Catalina Island.

Ed Higgins: They are all [00:10:00] over California!

Steve: Yeah, this is Southern California. They’re all over.

Ed Higgins: Nevada too.

Steve: Are they? Okay. I’m zooming out a little bit,

Ed Higgins: Oregon. Wow. They’re doing it.

Steve: They’re all over California. Yeah. So they’re all over the west.

Ed Higgins: That’s amazing. Great job. Whoever owns this brand, great work. Yeah,

Steve: They’re out of Oregon. I think they’re headquarters out of that. Yeah, they’re all over Nevada too, but I thought you’d enjoy that.

Ed Higgins: Yeah. This is a good find. Thank you.

Drupal, it is the same way, whereas WordPress is more informational. It’s made, it was made specifically to, for blogs, and then we found out that it was actually a great way to put together websites. So I’ve been using it for almost 14 years now. And it’s grown extensively since its creation.

When it first was created, it was pretty hard to use. You’ve used WordPress before. We’ve used it for your podcast.

 That’s content management systems. You can utilize a website like WordPress in order to make it e-commerce. A lot of people do. It’s really tough to do that though, because you have to [00:11:00] add a lot of functionality through plugins in order to make it. and it’s a lot of work to continuously make sure it works.

Once you add a plug-in, an application that you would add to your main application in order to get more functionality, usually have some kind of conflict. There’s always some kind of conflict with the plugins, and then you have issues going ahead.

Whereas you could get an E-Commerce solution like Shopify. Shopify still works in the Cannabis world. Dutchie, flowhub, leaf Logics, those are all either POS systems or e-commerce systems that you can utilize in order to sell Cannabis.

There’ll be more coming. But for right now . A lot of companies, they can’t protect themselves. Like we talked about in one of our episodes, they can’t protect themselves.

They don’t have the insurance to protect themselves, so therefore they won’t allow people to sell Cannabis. And Shopify. There was some rumblings in the industry that Shopify was gonna step away, but I haven’t heard anything since. I think we’re good there.

Steve: That’s good news. ,

Then you have third party platforms like we talked about with with [00:12:00] wix, Square, Shopify.

Those are good platforms, but the problem becomes the seo. It’s really hard to do search engine optimization in these websites. You have trouble because it’s a third party platform. Most of the traffic goes to the third party platform, but there may be new functionality in those platforms that make it easier for people to get their products to be seen on there.

In order to be seen on the web, you have to you have to do a whole bunch of things, which we’ll talk about in our Cannabis SEO episode.

You have to do a lot in order to get seen on the internet. . And one of the ways that we do it is through informational content, through teaching people what are edibles, what are carts, what are vape pens, all that good stuff. And Google did an update recently, and they’ll do updates all the time.

They did an update recently that will allow you to get higher up in the search engines by having informational content. [00:13:00] So we’ve been doing the right thing for years on one of my clients, and now that the Google is rewarding us by giving us more keywords on keyword ownership, where “get weed online” is one of our top keywords.

If you type that in, that’s the one of our client’s top keywords. And there’s a whole bunch of other keywords that people might utilize in order to buy Cannabis online. That’s our main business and we utilize WordPress to get that done. We have one client that bought an old directory from somebody else and wanted to make a website only to get back links. Backlinks are really important in the Cannabis field. So we did it we got it together and we may use it for an actual Cannabis directory site that may compete with companies like Weedmaps in the future

We had one client who was paying another service for backlinks for a long time, wasn’t paying for the backlink specifically, but was paying them for advertising in certain spaces and they were giving ’em back [00:14:00] links.

Once they were bought by another company, those backlinks disappeared and that could be crushing for a client. One of my clients I had, when we started, had 23,000 backlinks, but lost 15,000 of them. The way the internet works, a lot of it’s popularity and its hype.

If sites see that you are popular by having all these other sites linked to you, in back links, it will give you higher search engine rankings. With those back links disappearing, we had to make some moves quick in order to get them back the backlinks.

 It took about a year, but we got ’em back. All the backlinks and they started out with ranking for 1500 keywords in search engines. They’re now up to 20,000 after two years of working with that specific client. It takes a while, but it can be done. If you do it the right way the first time, you don’t have to worry about having to clean up your mess afterwards.

There is white hat tactics and black hat tactics, and I talk about this in the chapter Cannabis web design. We talk about that in there about different tactics and different things that you can [00:15:00] utilize in order to get your objective done, which is to grow your clients so that they can make more money online.

Ed Higgins: Once you get your domain, you can buy it from Blue Host, you could buy it from WP Engine. WP Engine’s one of our partners. We used to use BlueHost a lot. We’ve grown a little wary of their business only because they’ve had a lot of problems in the last couple years. With WP Engine, you have more Options with staging, production and a development website.

So if you wanna implement some changes, you do it in the development website, copy that environment over to the staging website, make sure it works, and then if it works, copy it over to the production, the forward facing website so that you don’t have any disruption of business. That’s really why we utilize wP engine,

Steve: right.

Ed Higgins: So basically you’re setting up your website, but how do people see it? You are gonna need a place for people to share it. One of the places that was created in order to do business and [00:16:00] share ideas was social media. In the marketing industry, We saw why these platforms were being created.

It was in order to drive traffic to our websites. It wasn’t meant to be social. It was meant to sell things. Social media really isn’t social at all. You’re blasted with a whole bunch of content through an algorithm and Cannabis websites have a problem of not being able to share a lot of stuff on social media.

The “social media morality police” take it down pretty quickly, but with the creation of Berner’s social media, and a lot of other new social media, they’re not as stringent in their content.

Have you ever had any issues on social media where you’ve been locked down because you shared something specifically?

Steve: I think on social media. Yeah. I think I’ve had a posted of flowers that were taken off before, so different stuff gets taken off.

I’m wondering how it’s gonna be in the future. Can you advertise cigarettes on social media? Can you advertise alcohol right now on social media?

Ed Higgins: No. No alcohols, no [00:17:00] cigarettes, no guns.

Steve: If that’s the case it’s probably not really gonna change unless maybe, can you advertise for aspirin. Can you advertise for medicine? Maybe medical Cannabis?

Because if you can’t advertise for any, even pharmaceutical stuff, I don’t see where there’s gonna be a window, opened up for the Cannabis industry unless it falls under certain types of branding, like within music, within clothing stuff like like that, something adjacent to the Cannabis industry, within the Cannabis culture, but not necessarily about the flowers.

Ed Higgins: Yeah, and that’s why we use directory websites like Weedmaps to get placement on their site so people can see certain products. And you can post things on social media, but it’s always a gamble as to what’s going to get taken down, what’s not.

So right now with one of my clients, we post when we have popups, but that’s all we post. We post the popups. We don’t post any product or anything like that because we’ve been taken down in the past, and you only have a certain amount of [00:18:00] times before you have to lose your social media.

You don’t own that. Social media, it’s a third party platform, so you don’t really have a choice whether they take down your stuff or not. . Yep. That’s why you create a website is so you can own that material. You can be the captain of that ship and you can steer it any way you like, but you can do certain things.

Like we created a book that was one of the things we did in order to get our content out there, is we put together a book and we’re putting together this podcast. There’s ways to do it, but you have to find that space and you have to navigate those waters first to find those space.

Navigating it onto TikTok that’s it’s up now. I don’t know how long TikTok is gonna be around for,

And TikTok is very stringent on not having Cannabis content. You can’t have anything Cannabis on TikTok. It’s whoever owns the content gets to make the rules.

So that unfortunately is the way, but Burner put together a social club. And social club allows you to post any kind of Cannabis content. I haven’t seen anybody take down any Cannabis content in [00:19:00] Clubhouse.

Mastodon, Reddit has Cannabis content on there, but you gotta be careful of what you post. Instagram, YouTube, there is certain ways to do it, but like we talked about before, you can’t sell it so you, you can’t post your product, which is one of the number one things when you have an e-commerce business, you want people to see your product.

Do you have any questions about web design or content management systems or e-commerce?

Steve: No, I think you covered it fair, fairly

Ed Higgins: We can go into more detail later on. If some of the listeners out there want to talk about content management systems or want us to do a deep dive on e-commerce. There is a whole bunch of psychological aspects to e-commerce including the different fonts, the different colors, different ways to get people to buy, to purchase content.

The content you need to add to each page in order to make sure that the SEO for the content works well in your favor. This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle marketing LLC, Helping Cannabis businesses grow organically.

We are a Cannabis [00:20:00] marketing firm in Cannabis SEO, Cannabis, e-commerce, and Cannabis marketing. Check out our new book and you can win our new book by going to our link tree and signing out for either SMS or messaging marketing or for email market. You sign up there and we’ll go ahead and we will send you out a new free book.

We are on Substack, that’s one of the social media that I’ve been able to talk about Cannabis and I’ve had no problems. It’s Cannabismarketing.substack.com. You can also find us on YouTube, although the content is more based around marketing than it is Cannabis marketing, but it’s still pretty much the same beast. As long as you can talk e-commerce marketing, you can talk Cannabis marketing.

Steve: What’s the best way to advertise your Cannabis online these days?

Ed Higgins: The best way to advertise your Cannabis online these days is having your own website, like WordPress and making videos that are informational, [00:21:00] making content that is informational. You’re gonna get a lot of people going to your site after that.

And then also, like we’re doing now we put together a podcast to talk about our content. That’s a great way for dispensary to make their product or their business be known as long as they’re willing to invest in it. Because it does take time and money to get that done.

But if you have somebody in your business, whether it be the owner, whether it be a bud tender or somebody that you trust and you want to bring more attention to your dispensary, then yeah, you might do a podcast. If I was going to promote a business in Colorado, I would do Colorado dispensaries, podcasts.

Then talk about basically your own dispensary. You can talk about dispensaries, but yeah, maybe your own dispensary and go from there. It’s word of mouth, but it’s also having a great website that you can purchase your product at.

If you’re shipping, you have shipping options in there. If you discounts any kind of loyalty programs we do coupons. Coupons are really popular in the [00:22:00] Cannabis field. It’s a way to be able to have content on your website about the product, while also embedding the website inside your website.

It’s like webception, right? Even though you’re one website, you’re technically two different servers. like with the directory website that I was talking about earlier, we set it up on a server in London so that the backlinks would give us more reach by being in London, cuz we have all these back links in London.

So they’re (Search Engines) like, oh wow, London actually likes you too. And you got a lot of back links out of there, so you must be really important. The search engine say, “let’s go ahead and put you up the search engine and get you promoted to more people.

There’s all types of different creative ways that we’ve had to work in the Cannabis space in order to get marketing, but the number one is Cannabis seo.

Like you said, you’re probably not gonna ever be allowed to buy paid advertising for Cannabis, I don’t see it happening. It’s like tobacco. It’s like guns. It’s something that they’re not gonna want you [00:23:00] to be able to pay for marketing. It may get in front of kids’ eyes.

That’s why we have to be very diligent in how we market and the information that we’re putting out there because we never know who’ll be reading the articles or who’ll be listening to our clients.

Steve: Some say weed sells itself.

Ed Higgins: It does. As long as you know where to find the weed and you’re willing to pay the price. Yeah. It sells itself. There are a lot of people that don’t get that. I’m glad you mentioned that.

That’s a good point too, is making sure that your pictures are high enough quality on your website in order to be able to see stuff like that. Because if somebody wants to see if you have, mold or if you have crystals, they’re gonna wanna see a pretty high quality image.

And a lot of these websites have default images. , please. That’s not good. Do not keep those default images. Get somebody, take pictures of your products. We’ve taken pictures for clients [00:24:00] before products and put them on the websites. It, it makes such a big difference if you have the actual product versus a default demo like image.

Steve: Yeah. Weedmaps used to be pretty good about that. They had a camera guy, the one in Los Angeles did, they had a camera guy that came out to your club. It was like doing a photo shoot. had the lights all set up and everything, put the beds on the little stand, and it really brought out the full texture of what the product looked like.

Ed Higgins: Did we talk about the weed maps kiosk? Have we talked about. , maybe there’s a Weedmaps now has a kiosk that they put in your store. If you have a big enough store where, oh really? You can shop like a McDonald’s, right? You can buy your meal at the screen and then you walk up and give ’em your receipt and you get, you pick up your product.

Steve: Yeah, that’s definitely gonna become a lot more popular. .

Ed Higgins: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. As long as you have the space. Before we didn’t have the space, but this specific client moved to a new dispensary, a new building, [00:25:00] and the building is much bigger. So they were able to get that that kiosk in there.

And it’s gonna help considerably because a lot of people like don’t want to, especially in the covid age, pandemic age. You don’t want to Have to sit in line next to people as long as you can as short as you can. I guess you don’t wanna do it. So having a kiosk where people can go up to, and they don’t have to be bothered by anybody.

I went into a gym. I got a new gym membership and I walked in and gave myself a tour because I didn’t want to deal with people. I didn’t, I don’t want you to sell me on something that I’m already sold on. I wanna see what’s going on right in the place. So I went and took my own tour and then came back and then purchased.

The membership. . Nice. Yeah. So that, that, these robots are helping us out pretty greatly. The digital age is here and having a good website is really it’s key. It is key to selling your product, even if your website links you to a Google Map listing so that people can come to your store if you don’t wanna do [00:26:00] e-commerce.

You don’t even wanna deal with it. Fine. You’re losing a lot of money in the Cannabis space, but at least have a one pager up, a one page website with the links to your location and how to get there so that people will walk in at least purchase from you that way.

Steve: Got it. Yeah, I agree. I’m gonna call it a wrap.

Ed Higgins: Yeah, right on. Let’s call it a wrap. We’ll see you guys next week.

Steve: All right. Talk some more about this, later.

Ed Higgins: As we’re recording this, we saw a news article come up about the Minnesota border of pharmacy. They filed a lawsuit against a group of three Minnesota Cannabis companies alleging that the Cannabis edibles exceed the state’s thc potency limits, , and disregard rules around appearance.

 I agree with what they’re saying. The packages that these guys were pushing out is 2,500 milligrams of thc. Now, for your heavy user, that’s great. That’s not even gonna make a dent. But for your average [00:27:00] light user like myself, 25 milligrams to 50 milligrams is really all you need in a serving.

I am 230 pounds. Now that’s my dNA processing the medicine. Could be different for you, but 125 milligram edible, I’ve taken it, it’s put me on my ass. We really don’t need that high of milligrams in our edibles and you could buy a whole package and end up eating the whole package and going way above what your edible intake is anyway. Be smart, be responsible, but we’re gonna see where this lawsuit goes.

It’s against Northland Vapor company, Moorhead, Northland Vapor Company, Bemidji and Wonky Confections. We’ll be looking at this heavily in the future to see where this goes. Hopefully it’s not used as propaganda, but we know it’s gonna be.

Episode sponsored by: Include your sponsor’s name, a short summary, and a link to their landing page. Include your sponsor’s name, a short summary, and a link to their landing page.

“This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle Marketing LLC, Helping Cannabis Businesses Grow Organically. We are a Cannabis Marketing firm specializing in Cannabis SEO, Cannabis Ecommerce, and Cannabis Marketing. Check out our new book: https://www.amazon.com/Purple-Noodle-Marketing-Organically-Entrepenuers/dp/B09ZCVYW7H

Our Website is; https://www.purplenoodlemarketing.com

List of resources, suggested materials, and social media handles:

Resource link #2: Partner Platforms include Dutchie.com , Flowhub.com, Leaflogix.com ,  or 3rd part platforms Leafly.com, Weedmaps.com and for now shopify.com

Resource link #3: Informational platforms to set up foundations for your Cannabis Business – WordPress.com, Shopify.com, Wix.com , Square.com and many more.

Our Substack is at https://cannabismarketing.substack.com/

Our Youtube is at: https://www.youtube.com/@purplenoodlemarketing

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